Kilty takes silver at Junior World Championships

first_imgBy Taylor MillerUSA WrestlingTRNAVA, Slovakia – Macey Kilty collected a silver medal at the 2018 Junior World Championships, after making her second World finals appearance of the summer.“I think throughout this year, I’ve made a big jump in my wrestling and my training,” Kilty said. “Just the pressure I put on my opponents and staying in good position has jumped levels for me, even since Croatia. I’ve seen a big difference. I’m just grateful for the opportunities I’ve had this summer and getting to compete.”Kilty, who won a Cadet World title in July in Zagreb, Croatia, faced off against reining Junior World champion and two-time Cadet World champion Khanum Velieva of Russia in the 68 kg finals.Velieva scored first on a takedown, but moments later picked up a takedown on the edge to take a 3-0 lead into the break over the American.In the second period, the three-time World champion scored on a throw-by for a takedown. Her final two points came in the form of a step out and a caution and one to take the gold medal with a 7-0 victory.Kilty wrapped up her first Junior World tournament with her third-career World medal. The Stratford native won Cadet World bronze in 2016 and added Cadet World gold this summer.last_img read more

Logo

first_imgPlay Your Part is Brand SA’s national initiative that encourages all South Africans to contribute to positive change. The Play Your Part logo is an encapsulation of this in one consolidated visual. The heart shaped flag embodies the prideand patriotism of all citizens which must inspire acts of volunteerism under the Play Your Part banner.The website link is positioned in such a way as to inspire action immediately, driving an audience to the online platform where it is possible to show how you play your part and be inspired by others whom are playing their part.last_img read more

To Stop or Not to Stop the Shoplifter: Is This Still a Question?

first_imgA male shoplifting suspect has been coming into Store 153 three times a week for as long as anybody can remember. Store management has even attributed this guy as a major cause of the store’s shrink woes that have put them on the corporation’s “target store” list for the last two inventory cycles. As the store’s loss prevention agent, you have tried to stop him in the past, but it seems like you have always been just one step behind him and unable to make the shoplifter apprehension.“Today is going to be different,” you say to yourself.You can feel it. Today he is finally going to get what’s coming to him, and, more importantly, your apprehension dry spell is going to end. No more excuses needed for the boss. Today you are going to be stopping the shoplifter that nobody else has been able to get.- Sponsor – You have spent the last ten minutes following the suspect through the store, tracking him carefully from the moment he entered. You know and understand the steps of the apprehension process. You have observed him approach, select, and conceal multiple computer accessories that you estimate to be worth over $200.“Just maintain constant surveillance.”You never lose sight of him. He definitely still has the merchandise as he passes all of the open and operating registers, failing to declare the merchandise in his coat.“He’s heading for the door…”Decision TimeAt this point, most seasoned loss prevention agents (LPA) begin to experience a rush of adrenaline and a stream of internal dialogue:Am I sure that he is attempting to steal this merchandise? “Yes, I am sure.”Is there any possibility that the merchandise could have been paid for by the suspect or anyone else? “No.”Can I handle this shoplifter apprehension on my own? “He looks pretty manageable. I’ve dealt with bigger and scarier shoplifters, and come out okay.”Could he have a gun on him? “Oh, good question. It is a pretty big coat, but I’ve been doing this a long time and have never seen a gun.”What about a knife? “Nah, I’ve got this.”Needle in his pocket? “Okay, enough with the questions and second-guessing. Today is the day for this guy!”You decide that your pre-stop requirements have been met and cautiously follow the suspect out to the sidewalk in front of the store. You approach him and say: “Good afternoon, sir. I am an LP agent with this store, and I need to speak with you privately back in store, please.”What happens now? How have you presented yourself? Did you run up and grab his shoulder? Did you walk past him to approach him from the front? Were you professional, yet firm? Were you nervous and unsure, or perhaps a bit aggressive and confrontational? Does the shoplifter run? Does he swing at you? Does the shoplifter return to the LP office willingly? Does he produce unpaid merchandise when asked?The safety of the LP agent, customers, and the shoplifter, as well as thousands or even millions of dollars in potential litigation, are all at risk and dependent upon the answers to these questions during an apprehension scenario. If any portion of this scenario is handled incorrectly, even just slightly, the results could be inconvenient, expensive, or even tragic. Even if everything was handled correctly, was it worth the risks?Is Stopping the Shoplifter Worth the Risk?Anyone who has worked in the LP industry for more than ten years has probably seen some significant changes in loss prevention processes and technology. We have seen evolutions from analog “still” CCTV cameras to digital PTZs to facial recognition security cameras, from dusty VCRs to DVRs with remote access, and from padlocks to RFID to sensor fusion. In addition, exception-based reporting programs and advanced prescriptive analytics have evolved into enterprise-wide data-mining systems that are helping to diagnose shrink issues throughout the store.But one aspect of the industry has not evolved over the years. One process that remains essentially unchanged over the years is the shoplifter apprehension. Regardless of the new technology or technique used to get to the point of detention, once LP agents get outside the store and are face to face with the suspect, the process is about the same as it has always been. They are unarmed, unequipped, and often alone. Their job then requires them to confront an unknown suspect about a crime that has just been committed. These facts have remained the same since the first shoplifter was detained many decades ago.For years, we have hired entry-level LP professionals and, in most cases, provided them with rigorous training dedicated to the apprehension of external theft candidates. We have embedded in their heads the necessity to ensure that they observe some form of the following steps prior to making an apprehension:ApproachSelectionConcealmentConstant surveillancePassing all points of saleExiting (in most companies)We have gone to great lengths to warn the trainee about the danger of the non-productive detainment (bad stop) and the potential for dangers that can occur when engaging physically with a shoplifter. But there is a push for results. A constant pressure upon LP agents every time they speak with their supervisor, send in weekly productivity reports, talk with their competitive peers, or even when talking with the associates that work in the store—”Say, when are you going to catch that shoplifter who keeps stealing all of our Beats headphones?”So emphasized is the need for productivity that some companies still base loss prevention associate reviews and performance metrics, if not entirely, at least in part, on apprehension statistics. Raises, promotions, and even continued employment are often contingent upon agents’ ability to produce stops and apprehend shoplifters.The typical metric of performance assessment involves “quota” demands, though that term is often avoided strongly. Instead, a more politically correct description is used—hours per apprehension (HPA), that is, hours worked divided by number of apprehensions made during the week, month, or year. Some companies go so far as to mention specific “goal” numbers, which are usually around 17 or 18, meaning one apprehension for every 17 or 18 hours worked.So, rather than using the actual LP program report card—the shrink number—some store-level LP teams, as well as many LP field managers, are still judged by their “body count.” Could this constant feeling of pressure lead to mistakes or poor decision making? Could this pressure also lead to the associate displaying increased anxiety, excitement, or adrenaline-fueled behavior during the apprehension process? “Yes,” said Jason Scheel, LPQ, former director at Compass Loss Prevention. “I have seen the unfortunate side effects of some LP agents feeling too much pressure to make shoplifter apprehensions, resulting in non-apprehension approaches [bad stops] or fights. I still see too many of them, or at least more than I’d like to see.”Shoplifter Apprehensions Turning ViolentAside from mistakes by the LPA that lead to a conflict with a shoplifting suspect, there may also be unknown variables in play pertaining to the suspect. Even if the approach and confrontation by the LPA is “textbook” and professional, any of these variables could result in a “simple” shoplifter apprehension escalating to something much more serious. For example, the subject could have an active arrest warrant, could be in possession or under the influence of a foreign substance, or could be experiencing a feeling of desperation with nothing to lose.A significant number of the LP professionals interviewed for this article believe that violence in shoplifter apprehensions for whatever reason is increasing, leading to more injuries and even deaths of, not only, LP personnel, but customers and shoplifters as well.In 2012, the National Retail Federation released results of a survey of their members that found shoplifting incidents turn violent 13 percent of the time. You can still find examples of apprehension-related violence in our Breaking News posts on a regular basis.Changing TimesSenior loss prevention professionals have lived through changing times. “If you stay in this career long enough, you are going to have a violent encounter,” said Brian Harless, an LP supervisor with a major discount retailer, “but the difference between when I first started and now? Take the weapons, for example. When I first worked in LP in the 1990s, there were maybe a handful of knives that we would take off shoplifters. Now, however, I have a small shoebox full.”Many LP departments were forced to drastically cut payroll with the economic downturn. This may have been a contributing factor to apprehension-related violence. In many retailers, departmental cuts led to only one LP agent working at a time. It has reduced options for the LPA in acquiring help from the store teams.One former LP manager for a big-box retailer explained it this way: “When I first started in LP, I had about 448 hours of coverage per week for each of our superstores. The team was making shoplifter apprehensions with three people outside and one in the camera room. It was rare that someone would run, and even rarer for them to fight. Now it’s a different story. The teams are running at 80 to 100 hours per week, and people are making shoplifter stops on their own. We started the whole ‘no-contact’ thing a few years back, and it seems to be helping a bit. But it’s still a scary thing to be out there by yourself.”Being alone, the scary feelings, the rush of adrenaline–all of those factors contribute to poor decision making and potentially disregard of no-contact or non-apprehension policies.Consider the scenario presented at the beginning of this post. The LP agent actually watches a crime unfold, and then approaches the shoplifter alone immediately after the fact, when the suspect’s emotions and adrenaline are probably running at their highest. Anyone with any foresight would probably agree that this is creating a situation fraught with potential disaster.Even police officers rarely have the opportunity to see a crime through from occurrence to detainment, at least not with the same frequency that LP agents do. Police officers typically arrive after the crime has taken place and are well equipped with batons, handcuffs, pepper spray, actual arrest powers, side arms, and plenty of backup. The LPA intervenes during the crime and often has nothing more than a walkie-talkie or cell phone for backup.Value of Shoplifter ApprehensionsTraditionally, loss prevention programs were built on the foundation of shoplifter apprehension. This function was leveraged as one of shrink reduction, not one of crime prevention or punishment. It is the very job function that led to our industry’s creation. In an earlier time, when we didn’t have strong operational knowledge, data analysis, or predictive modeling capabilities, spending our time and resources on this function may have made sense. But does it make sense now? Does stopping shoplifters have the kind of impact on shrink that we once thought? Again, the answer is no.The impact of shoplifting and the apprehension of offenders on shrink is still an open question and often a topic of heated discussion. Ask twenty different members of the LP industry what percentage of their shrink issues can be attributed to shoplifters, and you will likely get twenty different answers.In a 2012 poll, more than 70 percent of participants placed shoplifting at less than a quarter of their yearly shrink. Most of these professionals agree that shoplifter concerns vary with different retail models, but that regardless, the actual impact is a small fraction of yearly shrink when compared to other causes. Add to this that we are probably only actually apprehending a small fraction of that small fraction, and questions can be raised about the necessity to focus on shoplifting at all.According to recent retail theft statistics, retailers show a figure of approximately $48.9 billion in shrink for 2016, with an external theft apprehension recovery figure of just over $120 million. This comes out to less than 1 percent of total shrink. One percent! If this is accurate, this is a staggering statistic. Even when a substantial margin of error is factored in, this data does not support the philosophy of any loss prevention program that spends the bulk of their time and capital investing in the apprehension of shoplifters. And when the high control risks for injury, death, and litigation are thrown into the equation, it makes even less sense.In analyzing a 2012 report developed by Merchant Analytic Solutions, if we credit shoplifting (external) as roughly 24 percent of yearly shrink, consider all of the control risk that is associated. Now look at the 76 percent of other losses. These represent the bulk of our concerns and have the lowest risks associated with mitigation. As an industry, we allocate 70 to 80 percent of our budgetary distribution toward the high control risk, low-impact factor of external theft. How does this make sense?Why This Approach?“Shoplifting is an easy scapegoat for the shrink woes of some stores, districts, or retailers as a whole,” says one former vice president of LP at a major specialty retailer. “Shoplifting is that one consistent, universal, uncontrollable evil that exists in all of retail, and is often used as an accessible and believable excuse.”There is some truth in that quote. Shoplifting is an easy-to-identify, easy-to-blame occurrence that happens in every retailer. The gut feeling for many in retail, especially operators, is that shoplifters are the primary cause of shrink. Even though we have multiple data with colorful pie charts that say otherwise, shoplifters still somehow get top billing. Perhaps then, just showing the pie chart isn’t enough.Think about your last visit with the store manager in one of your high-shrink locations. Assuming that you discussed shrink strategy, what was the first thing the manager blamed? Typically, it’s shoplifters. How often have you heard something to the effect of, “There’s one guy that comes in every other day and wipes out my batteries and deodorant. When are you guys going to catch him?”More often than not, something along this line is the default answer, and often through no fault of the store manager. They may know that internal theft (“My employees won’t steal from me.”), administrative errors, and vendor issues contribute to shrink, but not to what extent. Perhaps they also have not been trained on how to actually diagnose and fix the other 76 percent of their losses. So what they are left with is what is happening right in front of them—shoplifting.How Do We Evolve?Wouldn’t it be nice if the next time you ask that store manager about shrink, they answered in the following way? “We had to rush through our seasonal change over after Christmas, and, as a result, our price-change processes and overall pricing integrity has gone by the wayside a bit. This has led to a tremendous influx of SRAs at the front registers, manifesting themselves as line voids, price modifications, and generic SKU entries. This could have led to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in deteriorated margin and shrink across multiple SKUs in a number of categories and departments. But my LP associate caught it, and now we are working together to ensure that the issue is corrected.” This would be a welcome change, no?A companywide shift in LP culture and focus can help get you to that point. Moving the focus away from external theft and more onto the controllable elements of shrink can help:Reduce shrinkImprove gross marginIncrease net profitIncrease stock valueDecrease the pressures associated with the “need” to apprehend shopliftersThese decreased pressures result in a decreased risk of injury, death, and/or litigation in shoplifter apprehensions.Some retailers are at the forefront of this evolution in LP culture. Consider the results of a Fortune 25 specialty retail chain that began undergoing a shift in culture in 2002 with excellent results. The company focus–not just LP–was shifted from an apprehension-driven external-theft mindset to one of operational knowledge and holistic vision. The program was centered on the mitigation of SRA (sales reducing activities) and their operational causes.This retailer did not forbid external apprehensions completely, giving the option to the store management team, but only if they felt they had no alternative. The company adopted and enforced a no-touch, no-contact policy, as well as a stringent product-protection, theft-prevention program. They reviewed their LP team based on a combination of overall shrink numbers, SRA mitigation, and company performance.As a result of these changes, over the next five years, this retailer saw a 94 percent improvement in shrink (over $800 million), 11 percent improvement in gross margin, and an impressive 85 percent bump in net profit. The shift in LP focus had a tremendous effect.Similar culture changes are being tested in other forward-thinking retailers worldwide. Access to data across the entire business enterprise, as well as our ever-improving abilities to analyze and interpret it is giving us a much more holistic view of loss prevention’s ability to control shrink. Maybe this is leading us toward having more influence on the 76 percent of shrink that is controllable, rather than having to place quite as much risk, emphasis, effort, and expense in trying to manage the uncontrollable 24 percent.To Stop or Not to StopYour department and company need to consider how much impact shoplifting is actually having on profits–and then react accordingly. There are other aspects of shrink occurring in your buildings that contribute to the bulk of your shrink woes. These aspects are more controllable and much safer to address.However, if your company has decided that shoplifting apprehensions are a necessary part of your shrink strategy, consider implementing or revisiting the following measures:Us shoplifter apprehension as a last resort.Institute and enforce a zero-tolerance no-chase, no-touch policy for all employees.Anytime labor reductions necessitate a cut in LP payroll, revisit and revise safety practices with the remaining team members.Encourage a “buddy system”—could be manager, floor associate, uniformed security—to avoid LP agents making shoplifter apprehensions alone.Hire LPAs with good business acumen and the ability to learn company operations as well as theft mitigation.Ensure that new hires are aware of the differences between working in law enforcement and working in loss prevention.Ensure that they are capable of always making decisions that are in the best interest of safety, shrink mitigation, and the overall company brand.Expose LPAs to category, department, and/or SKU-related shrink results, and ensure that their focus is prioritized appropriately.Encourage the practice and recognize the success of prevention technique recoveries as a part of the LPA job description.Train and require continued training on all facets of the business operation, including perpetual inventory process, price changes, markdowns, seasonal changeovers, DSD and receiving processes, POS system operation, SRA analysis and mitigation, and others.Use shrink results as the LP report card. Review and promote LPAs on their ability to impact shrink through productivity and a combination of these measures. Their success and the shrink success of their stores or spans of control should go hand in hand.On this subject, the bottom line does not refer to company profits. Be safe. And remember that nothing in your store is worth your life or anyone else’s.This article was originally published in 2012 and was updated July 18, 2018. You’ve just read one of LPM’s most popular articles. Discover more high-quality industry content from LP Magazine with a digital or print subscription. [Start my FREE subscription today.] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Bips, Esha Gupta, Tamanna sport bikinis in Humshakals

first_imgIn Sajid Khan’s “Humshakals”, Bipasha Basu, Esha Gupta and Tamannaah will be seen sporting bikinis.Apart from selecting the right kind of bikini for themselves, the trio has worked really hard to get the perfect body to carry the two-piece ensemble well.Hot bodies! Esha, Tamanna & Bips look colourful in their skimpy bikinis.A source said: “Bipasha, Esha and Tamannaah will be seen sporting bikinis in one sequence in the film. They have carried it effortlessly. Sajid has always had a bikini sequence in his films and ‘Humshakals’ is no exception.””The sequence will surely add an oomph factor to the film,” the source added.The movie also stars Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor.Produced by Vashu Bhagnani and presented by Fox Star Studios, the movie will release June 20.last_img read more

Internet Marketing Blogs You Should Be Reading

first_img Lip Sticking – Marketing to Women Online Small Business Trends SEOBook – Did you know that 1/2 of the small businesses in the US are businesses that sell to other businesses? Brian Carroll talks about how to leverage the web to generate leads for the complex b2b sale. – 5 great female marketers blogging about how to market to women. If you market your product or service to women, you should quickly add these marketing gurus to your feedreader. – John Jansch wrote the book on online marketing for small businesses on a budget. He’s built a mini-online-media empire serving small businesses with simple, yet solid, what we like to call “inbound” marketing tips and techniques. He specializes in helping small businesses generate referral business. Since the internet is the greatest word of mouth accelerator ever invented, you should probably tune into to learn how to leverage the web to increase your business’s most important marketing channel. Web Ink Now Blog Examples – If there’s one thing we pound into our clients head, it’s “content, content, content”. To win on the internet, you need to produce it regularly and it needs to be good. CopyBlogger blogs about how content is critical to succeed at leveraging social media to grow your blog’s readership… and your business’s revenue. ProBlogger – GroundSwell is a new book by genius Forrester analysts, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. Through Forrester, they have access to the data about how people are using social media sites. As we learned from the amazing attendance at this week’s social media webinar, a lot of people are trying to figure out how to engage in social media to promote their businesses. Social media sites are where your next customer is hanging out. And your next one. And your next one. You should be there too. Originally published Apr 15, 2008 11:10:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: PR Squared CopyBlogger Seth Godin – Aaron Wall charges a minimum of $20k/month for his search engine optimization consulting services. A lot different than HubSpot’s $3,000/year fee. I don’t know… maybe he knows a little more than we teach our clients. He did “write the book” on SEO. But, I can’t imagine paying that much to anyone just for access to their brain. Especially, when his blog is free. You should read it. If you extrapolated the hours he puts into it, you’re probably getting $100k worth of free advice every month. – Darren Rowse writes about how to be a “pro blogger” or make money/generate income from blogging. I don’t really read it for that. I read it because he’s also a master at leveraging blogs to drive traffic, something all businesses should be doing, no matter what they’re “pros” at. Marketing Pilgrim – Simple no-nonsense advice for small business owners and marketing professionals from accomplished internet entrepreneur and small business owner, Anita Campbell.center_img Court’s Internet Marketing School – You call yourself an online marketer and you don’t read Seth Godin’s blog? What’s wrong with you? Seth literally birthed permission marketing, and coined “being remarkable” as a marketing term – which really paved the way for the way we think about “inbound marketing”. GroundSwell Duct Tape Marketing Common Craft – Of all the people I know, Noah is probably the deepest marketing/branding thinker who also really gets [and does] online marketing, online advertising, blogging, social media, etc. Big brands really pay attention to him too. If you aspire to be successful online, you should read Noah. Leave your suggestions with a link and ‘why we should be reading them’ in the comments. ever made. Lee and Sachi are poster children for how to leverage unintended viral marketing to start and build a very good lifestyle business. – If you’re trying to figure out how to use video to communicate to your market, you should probably hire Lee & Sachi LeFever to help you. If you can’t afford them, you should learn by reading from their blog. If you’re not using a feedreader to read blogs yet, you have to watch probably the Noah Brier – Todd Defren invented the Social Media Press Release. If you’re doing Public Relations and want to bring your PR skills into the NOW, you should probably read Todd’s blog. – Courtney Tuttle knows his stuff. So does Mark Butler, a contributor. They have a knack for breaking down fairly complex online marketing topics and explaining them pretty simply. And they do what they preach. Everything they’re talking about comes from experience. What other online marketing blogs should we all be reading? – David Meerman Scott’s blog. David authored “The New Rules of PR & Marketing”. His take on marketing is best said in his wikipedia entry: “He says that the rules of marketing and PR on the Web are completely different. Instead of buying or begging your way in, Scott says anybody can ‘publish their way in’ using the tools of social media such as, blogs, podcasts, online news releases, online video, viral marketing, and online media.” most viral how to video B2B Lead Generation Blog – Andy Beal covers industry news about online reputation management, SEO, SEM and “blogging for business”. Following the news makers in the online marketing industry can be completely addictive. There’s a lot of news and you could literally spend all day keeping track of it. Andy brings the stuff that’s important while providing analysis of marketing trends. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Must-Read Inbound Marketing Predictions and Resolutions for the New Year

first_img 11 B2B Social Media Predictions for 2010 Rand Fishkin 3. The same goes for your company.  How will it live up to the changes the new year will bring?  What kinds of Hungry for more 2010 prophecies?  Social Media B2B offers an even bigger list of prediction articles at . Social Media B2B , a prominent Internet marketing trend resource, with insights into the future of monetization models, the effect of transparency on advertising, social and search, mobile, social commerce, Gazing into his SEO crystal ball, Rand pulls out 8 of his own guesses for the new year.  Discussing recent trends, he attempts to predict what’s to come, including the fading of the real-time search fad, the continuation of personalized search, a merger between Yahoo! and Bing, and a dramatic increase in SEO spending. To help guide small businesses’ http://bit.ly/6HAx4M public relations eMarketer mastering Twitter lists He stresses that in 2010, social media will begin to creep more and more into the sales funnel, resulting in a more social media savvy sales team and increased support from social media in lead generation.   .  Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results. Learn from others’ marketing mistakes, yet don’t be afraid to try something new. , social advertising, Twitter, 2. Author: Lesson: Lee reflects on the 2010 predictions of #Marketing2010 of Among my favorites: journalists will pitch PR, social media will backfire on a political candidate and the Master’s Golf Tournament will trigger another outbreak of articles about Tiger Woods.  Some interesting thoughts, but of course, take them all with a grain of salt.  8 Predictions for SEO in 2010 for 2010, Mashable offers some great ideas of sample resolutions.  At the top of this list?  Reflect on industry trends.  Jennifer encourages you to evaluate the major trends of 2009 that occurred in your industry and adopt some of the techniques that worked.  Originally published Jan 1, 2010 8:08:00 AM, updated July 18 2013 Jennifer Van Grove Lee Odden inbound marketing goals Kipp’s list focuses on the future of social media.  While social media was definitely a marketing/communications hot topic in ’09, Kipp thinks 2010 will involve a shift in spotlight to more clearly connecting social media to business objectives and better understanding how to measure the direct and indirect Author: Expect the unexpected. 4. Lou Hoffman of Read HubSpot’s predictions inbound marketing kit ROI of social media or tweet your own using hashtag Lesson: Recent trends can sometimes help predict the changes to come. Some other ideas include setting new social media goals, going local by finding smart ways of incorporating location data, SEOmoz . Lesson: eMarketer: 12 Digital Marketing Predictions for 2010 Download our Inbound Marketing Kit Lesson: 1. 5. Author: Author: Lesson: . Author: PR-Squared social media/online strategies Prepare your business for the new year video 5 New Year’s Resolutions for SMBs Expect to see more use of interactive mobile marketing in 2010. of . Mashable Social media isn’t just a marketing tool.  of 2010 Predictions for Communications will your business set to rise above the competition and become top-of-mind for its prospects and customers?  To help you answer these questions, we’ve compiled a list of 5 must-read articles written by fellow bloggers who are also trying to prepare for the new year.    Lou will make you smile with his tongue-in-cheek 2010 forecast for the communications industry, guest posted on Todd Defren’s blog.  TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog Some of eMarketer’s interesting ideas include an increase in the Internet usage of the 55+ demographic, an expansion of social ad networks, the move of mobile into the mainstream and increased website transparency which will undermine online ad efforts. and mom/pop Internet usage — you name it!  Kipp Bodnar on and experimenting with new ideas. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

The Forgotten Conversion in the Sales Process: Lead-to-Customer

first_img . bearroast You have been blogging like crazy. You have a fantastic call to action. Leads are rolling in. But for some reason you struggle to convert those leads into actual customers. . Also remember to Google their company to find articles about other possible problems they might have.   The questioning process will also allow the customer to come to conclusions about their own business issues. And this is important, because customers always value the conclusions they come to themselves (with the assistance of guiding questions) more than those that are forced upon them. If all you do is tell customers what they need, and how you as a seller can help meet those needs, you will fail in today’s selling environment. The majority of customers who are in the market for complex products or services much prefer a more consultative approach. Assess your sales team. Since all questions are not created equal, it’s important that you ask questions that are helpful and insightful from the customer’s perspective. The customer is Gone are the good old days where you can simply call on a prospect, list your products’ features and expect to take an order. If you sell a product or service at a premium price, and you have competitors that can beat you on price, the key is adding value in the eyes of the customer. This is where knowing how to ask the right questions is so crucial. By asking the right questions you will discover what their concerns are. This will give you an opportunity to address their concerns and create tangible value for your customer through the sales process. Ask them to supply a report on some information you need, such as quarterly results or current presentations. Asking the right questions Passing Leads to Sales Encourage buy-in from others in the company execute sales best practices For more free information on how to sell like a pro have a look at Huthwaite’s whitepapers on Looking at the lead history in HubSpot is a great place to start.  not sales performance here Small transactional sales are perfect for the web. No one thinks twice about shelling out $7 for a small item via an online checkout system. But closing bigger deals is another thing. At some point you need a little human interaction. HubSpot tools do a great job of preparing the prospect for your sales call but if your sales team doesn’t have the right skills to understand your customer’s needs, they will simply not close the deal. Effective questioning skills that drive the sales process are the most important skills that a seller can develop. With the right sales questions the seller will get answers that will help him or her to better understand and address the customer’s needs.center_img This is a guest blog post from Ralph Vugts, Online marketing specialist for Huthwaite Asia Pacific. Huthwaite specializes in sales performance training and works with some of the largest organizations on changing the behaviour of their sales teams. If you have a large organization, ask around if anyone has any knowledge about the prospect. There is always a good chance someone might know something you don’t. Topics: Photo by: looking to fill in the gaps of your knowledge. Instead, they look to you to understand their issues with greater clarity. Using your expertise and listening skills, you want your questions to lead them down a path of self-discovery. Originally published Feb 1, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Arrange a meeting with someone who owns the problem in their organization. Get them to commit to a paid trial. Sounds great, but what should I do now? Make sure they do their homework before making a call. Researching information about the potential client before initial contact is essential.  Don’t waste time by asking questions you can easily find out before hand.  Go along on a sales call and pay attention to how they interact. If they are not asking very many questions and are doing the bulk of the talking, you may have a real problem. Are you having trouble closing deals? How would you rate your sales team’s question asking skills? . The aim of every meeting is to move the sale forward, and the best way to do this is to get a commitment from the prospect to do something on their end that will progress the sale. For example: Get them to bring along their most senior manager to the next meeting, a person who has the final approval. Sales professionals involved in complex sales need a strategy if they want to succeed. They need to understand the customer decision process and be able to Lack of selling skills is not a rare phenomenon among salespeople. We conducted on December 2010 a survey of 544 Sales Directors and General Managers and 22% said that the selling skills of their team were the #1 reason for not reaching their sales targets for the quarter. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

5 Time Saving Tips to Increase Your Productivity

first_img Topics: and as a speaker, author and Lean Office expert, Audrey helps individuals and companies increase their productivity and efficiency. “Eternal Clock” Image: Because I speak on the topic of personal productivity, email management and lean office, my radar is always up in discovering faster and more efficient ways of doing things. 

Today, I’d like to share with you 5 tips that I’ve shared with my sales coaching clients. Email Shortcuts When I receive email confirmations for upcoming travel (airline, hotel and rental car), I immediately drag these e-mails from my Inbox directly to the departure date on my calendar. Now all of my travel details are just where I need them. To scroll through a screen-length of emails just press the spacebar. Pressing the “T” key will return you to the Top of your emails and the “B” key will move you to the Bottom of your email list. When reading an email press the “R” key to Respond. During PowerPoint presentations you can easily produce a black screen by pressing the “B” key. Pressing it again will bring your PPT back. Repeat after me: “B for Black; B for Back”.  If for some reason you wanted a white screen, just press the “W” key. And for the curious, pressing “O” will NOT bring you an orange screen. Organized Audrey Travel Confirmations If you travel a lot you probably find yourself constantly double checking to make sure you’ve got all of your electronic gadgets with you. Using a product like Built’s Cargo Travel Organizer to stow items helps me visually see that I’m remembering everything I left the office with. In MS© Outlook, did you know you can link to a contact from within an appointment on your calendar? It’s extremely handy for phone meetings or blocked projects requiring contact with others.center_img Robbert van der Steeg Travel Gadgets This is a guest post written by Audrey Thomas.  She is the founder of PowerPoint Shortcut When setting up a new appointment, look in the lower left-hand corner of your appointment screen. You’ll see the “Contacts” button. Click on it and your Address Book(s) will pop open. Double-click on your contact name, linking it to your appointment. 

Now when your appointment rolls around you can easily open up your contact’s information without leaving your calendar view. Blackberry Shortcuts Originally published Mar 9, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Join me on March 17 for my session during the Sales Productivity Summit and I’ll give you a whole bunch of tips to help you save time and money! Productivity Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Website Grader Lessons: Bag Inspiration

first_img Bag Inspiration would benefit by consolidating their different online properties. Currently their blog and website live at different URLs. This means that their main site, isn’t getting the search engine optimization benefits of all the content they are creating on their blog.  2. Things Bag Inspiration Could Do Differently Michelle and Stephanie also have a newsletter registration form right on their homepage. It’s a great idea to collect the names and email addresses of people who are interested in hearing from you but might not be ready to buy right now. By collecting email addresses and building out a house email list, you have a great tool to nurture people until they are ready to buy.   which highlights how you can live a more green life, write Things Bag Inspiration is Doing Right 1. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Bag Inspiration is the brain child of two moms, Michelle and Stephanie, in Wisconsin who are passionate about protecting the environment and who have a love for bags made of recycled materials. On their site, they sell bags made from everything including candy wrappers, old Indian saris, juice boxes and mosquito netting. Website Grader contest  (enter for your chance to win.) We thought we would highlight one of the companies that have joined in, showing what they are doing really well on their site, and what they could be doing better.  BagInspiration.com blog From their Twitter feed, I learned that Bag Inspiration also has a fabulous weekly online newspaper call 1. Design product reviews I would recommend consolidating their blog, GreenInsprintation.com, with their website BagInspiration.com. I would also recommend making their favorites and product recommendations part of their blog. It has the double benefit of adding more relevant content to their site and including that content in the blogs RSS feed.  We have had a lot of great folks participate in the on going The Green Inspiration Daily Originally published May 20, 2011 12:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 2. Michelle and Stephanie have done a great job of creating content in creative ways. They have a , which pulls together interesting content from around the web. Based on a quick search, I don’t believe that this is linked to from anywhere on their site! With each new issue, I would recommend writing up a blog post highlighting one or two of the articles. This will not only add more content to their blog, but will also help drive more people to the newspaper.    on different green cleaning products and also each have a favorites section where they talk about their favorite bags. The content is relevant to their readers and covers a variety of interesting topics.   I think Bag Inspiration is doing great things for the environment and is very deserving of the 95.5 that Website Grader gives them. last_img read more

60% of Social Media Messages are Links to Published Content [Data]

first_img Topics: data shared by eMarketer of all shares, 60% were of links to published content It’s an inbound marketing no-brainer: the best way to get your prospects to find and learn about your company, its products, and its services is by publishing content. And the latest as the top sharing vehicle for content with 93% of internet users using it, it’s not ahead in the race by much. Social networks trail slightly behind at 89%, and sharing through blogs is a close third at 82%. In addition, this data helps us understand that people share differently with different groups of people. Understanding the specific sharing behaviors of different groups can help marketers pinpoint the best methods for reaching their prospects. how people share content online. Is your business taking advantage of the power of published content? Email Marketing The study also revealed some data about the methods by which people are sharing content online, and more granularly, with whom. Overall, while . Additionally, 36% of shares were of embedded content. The third subset of shares? A measly 4%, which is made up of URLs for brands or corporate websites. This means that, whether people are sharing links to your content or embedding it into social networks directly, an overwhelming 96% of the sharing that happens online is of even smarter Smart inbound marketers understand the need to create and publish content in order to get found online. The , not websites. content Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Content is the Fuel of the Social Web,” AOL and Nielsen Online gathered data from over 10,000 social media messages to analyzecenter_img That means even if you’ve gotten your website up and running, your next step needs to be to come up with a solid Carlos Maya ones are creating it on a regular basis and are planting their content seeds in social media so it gets shared and spreads to a much larger degree. What This Means for Marketers Photo Credit: In their April 2011 report, ” Originally published May 19, 2011 5:02:00 PM, updated July 19 2013 . email still leads the pack Social sharing can be extremely valuable and effective in getting found online. The bottom line is, even if you have the prettiest looking website in the world, without content, it will likely stay hidden in a black hole of the web. content strategy When it comes to online sharing, it’s not enough for businesses to simply have a website; long gone are the days when a “web presence” just means having a website for your business to call home. The results? We think their most noteworthy finding is that, Social Media only confirms it…last_img read more